What impression does your practice give to patients? Adam Shaw

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  Posted by: Dental Design      16th November 2018

It’s easy to get bogged down with the mundane tasks of everyday clinical life and forget to look up from what you’re doing from time to time; so why not every once in a while take a minute to look around. When you do, ask yourself what do you see? What do your patients see? It’s quite often the case that when we do take a minute to focus 100% on what’s around us that we make observations that went unnoticed before.

It may be something small like noticing a poster about a treatment offer is out of date or a stack of paperwork you meant to file is still on the side. Other details might be harder to see if you’ve become immune to your surroundings. It’s like hanging up a picture at home with the intention of it being moved elsewhere, but after a while you stop paying attention to where it is and accept its place. Well, the exact same thing can happen in the dental practice – except it will be things like not noticing that the reception needs renovating or that equipment needs replacing.

If this is the case in your practice, you can guarantee that whatever you don’t pick up on, your patients will. Firstly, because they’re in the practice so infrequently that they are bound to notice more than you, but also because they are paying customers so will naturally approach the environment with the mind-set of a consumer. In other words, patients have got more cause to be judgemental about what they see in front of them, and will likely form a judgement of your service accordingly. Here are some of the aspects of your practice that your patients might be judging you on:

The reception team

You might know your reception team well, but your patients don’t. Thus if they receive a frosty welcome instead of a cheerful smile this might put them off from coming back. At the very least it will detract from the quality of the overall patient experience and lessen their opinion of the service. To ensure your patients are receiving a high standard of customer care, be sure to check that patients get the welcome they deserve when they enter the practice. It’s most likely the case that this isn’t a problem, but it’s always best to confirm.

Waiting room

Patients can spend anywhere from two minutes to around 15 minutes in your waiting room, so if it’s lacking expected qualities you can guarantee that they’ll be making a mental note of it. Obviously you will never please everyone, but it comes back to the picture frame example; after a while you stop noticing that something is the way that it is if you’ve seen it enough times. Your patients, on the other hand, will be objective about what they see, so will notice if something is wrong or could be improved upon. Welcome suggestions and feedback to get fresh perspective, and where possible try and look at the practice through patients’ eyes.


If your equipment is old, shabby or out-dated, patients might assume that you’re not willing to invest in the latest technologies that help to improve treatment. Even if that’s not the case, it might be deduced that way, and patients will come away with a bad impression of your practice as a result. If you really want to take your service to the next level and boost positive perceptions of your practice, upgrade your equipment – your patients will notice the difference.

Use of colour

Colour is the other area that will influence patients’ impressions. Indeed, research suggests that people make a sub-conscious judgement about an environment or product within just 90 seconds of initial viewing, of which 62% to 90% of that assessment is based on colour alone.[i]It is also thought that certain colours evoke certain emotions or views – for instance, research has found that companies with blue logos/paint work are considered to be ‘more trustworthy’.[ii]With this in mind, it might be worth considering what the colour scheme of your practice says about your service? More importantly, what impression are you trying to give patients?

If you’re trying to create a certain feeling or tone, then, you can utilise colour to achieve that goal and influence people’s perceptions. RPA Dental can help you to design and renovate your practice down to details such as colour, and can provide you with matching cabinetry throughout from the Tavom range, which comes in a variety of vibrant, eye-catching shades.

It’s important to consider what impression your practice gives to patients about your service, so remember to stop every once in a while and evaluate your surroundings.


RPA Dental Equipment Ltd.

Visit us at www.rpadental.net

London and Manchester Sales and Service Centres call 08000 933 975



[i]Satyendra Singh, (2006) “Impact of color on marketing”, Management Decision, Vol. 44 Issue: 6, pp.783-789. Accessed online April 2018 at https://doi.org/10.1108/00251740610673332

[ii]Lee S, Rao VS. Color and store choice in electronic commerce: The explanatory role of trust. Journal of Electronic Commerce Research. 2010; 11 (2): 110-126. Accessed online April 2018 at http://www.makinggood.ac.nz/media/1264/leerao_2010_colour.pdf

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